Comic Con is all about the fans! …Well, the fans and the costumes and the celebrities and a bunch of other stuff. Anyway, we’ve decided to focus on the fans and bring some hard hitting questions we often hear from our fans to Gameloft’s own Baudouin Corman, VP Publishing for the Americas.
Below, we dig deep and find out details about Gameloft’s approach to free-to-play, support for Android devices, and the future of AAA mobile games. Check out the interview below for all the details.
How long have you been with Gameloft?
I’ve been with Gameloft since back before we were making smartphone games. I started in 2005. At the time, our games ranged in size from 100 to 300 KB! We had a mix of action games (Ubisoft IPs for example) and casual games (like the Midnight Series: Midnight Pool, Midnight Bowling,…). Casual games on mobile phones were already an important part of our business.
How has the company changed over that time?
There have been some changes. We were 500 people when I started. We are now over 5,000. But many things remain the same like our focus on making the highest quality games possible. Any new piece of mobile hardware generates a lot of excitement inside the company and we try to do the best we can for each particular device. We also still have some of the most passionate gamers in the industry working here. One big change over the past couple of years is our business model. We used to only make paid games, and are now offering a more balanced portfolio including free-to-play titles that are popular with more casual audiences.
Why has Gameloft moved to a 100% freemium strategy?
We haven’t! When we first started making free-to-play games, I think there was fear among our biggest fans that we were abandoning the core gamer audience. Some people assumed that we would stop making AAA core games all together. We’re very excited to bring games like The Amazing Spiderman and The Dark Knight Rises to market. I think we’ve found a healthy balance. Games like N.O.V.A 3 and Ice Age Village appeal to different audiences, but both audiences deserve the best quality.
So we can still expect more AAA games from Gameloft in 2012 and beyond?
Yes, and regardless of the price or business model we always aim to make the best quality titles whether free-to-play or premium. For example, we just released The Amazing Spider-Man for $6.99 and Asphalt 7 for $.99. We have a lot of awesome titles coming down the pipe at all price points. I think our fans will be very pleased.
Speaking of Asphalt 7, why did you decide to drop the price from the previous game? Did you add a freemium model?
It’s a nice price, don’t you think? There’s a ton of content in Asphalt 7. Players can certainly unlock new cars and upgrades with IAP if they want, but I think most players would agree that it’s not something that’s necessary to enjoy the game. We feel this is the right price point to bring our quality racing game Asphalt to the mass market.
Why don’t Gameloft games come to Android at the same time as iOS?
This is something we try to do. It’s a goal in 2012 to have simultaneous launches across iOS and Android. No one is more disappointed than we are when that doesn’t happen. For example, Asphalt 7 was supposed to release on Android at the same time as iOS. Last minute unexpected technical issues have caused a delay. We refuse to release games before they’ve completely gone through proper QA, and I think consumers would rather wait a bit longer than play a game that isn’t fully polished.
What do you think of the Galaxy Nexus 7 tablet?
We’re very excited by this initiative of Google for various reasons. First, the Nexus 7 is an entertainment device focusing on content. Google did a good job at showcasing content in the menu, in the main screens,… and the price point is awesome. We’ve seen the success of tablets like the Kindle Fire. We hope that the Nexus 7 will be as successful.
Why doesn’t Gameloft support more Android devices?
For customers, I imagine it’s frustrating if one of our games isn’t available for your device. There are a lot of devices out there with different screen sizes, different firmware, and different specifications. We want our games to work on as many of them as possible, but we also want each player to have an optimal playing experience. We optimize our games for each device and with hundreds of devices on the market and more coming out each day, we sometimes have to choose our battles. But we’re constantly revising our publishing list. Did you notice we recently added the Transformer Prime?
Why doesn’t Gameloft update games more often? My copy of Modern Combat 3 has bugs that have not been fixed.
If you look at our 2012 line-up, you’ll see that most titles are being updated frequently. This is by design. You can expect more regular updates from Gameloft games moving forward. And in the case of Modern Combat 3, we are working hard to find and fix bugs with each new update. But if you do find one, be sure to email our support team at firstname.lastname@example.org so that they can let our dev teams know.
I emailed Gameloft customer service and they never replied to me. What’s the deal?
We recently announced that we have 45 million monthly active users. Compare that to a year ago. We’ve grown very quickly in terms of number of players which as you can imagine has put a burden on our support teams. But I think we can definitely do a better job here. Our customers are our number one priority.
Anything you can tell us about upcoming titles?
We’ll have plenty to announce in the months ahead. Our line-up for the 2nd half of this year is something we’re really proud of. Like us on Facebook to get all the info first.
Want the inside scoop on Gameloft? Check out these in-depth interviews with the Gameloft Team: